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Local businesses expand outside of Valley
NORTH BEND - The Valley is just not big enough to contain the fabulousness of some local businesses.
That's why the likes of Frankie's Pizza and Gordy's Steak & BBQ Smokehouse have spread the love to other communities such as Maple Valley and Tukwila.
In August of last year, Chris Garcia, co-owner of Frankie's Pizza in North Bend, opened his second restaurant at 22125 S.E. 237th St., Ste. 102 in Maple Valley.
"It has been pretty successful so far," Garcia said. "One of the challenges is comparing the store in North Bend, which has been open for 17 years and has had fairly good success, with something that is brand new."
Garcia and business partner Jim Westlake now divide their time between the restaurants. They chose the Maple Valley location because it's a growing community, Garcia said.
"We decided if we could take what seems to be working here and make it work down there, it would be a great opportunity."
The Maple Valley location has the exact same store format as the North Bend one, but focuses more on delivery. Garcia said he plans on having between five and 10 Frankie's franchises eventually.
"I just think if you can get something to work in one community and just pick the same principle in the next community, it'll work out for ya," Garcia said.
Hard work has been the secret of Frankie's success. Garcia said he just tried to pick a community with similar demographics to North Bend's, threw in the usual Frankie's magic and watched the people come through the door.
"We try to be the best and I think we offer a good product and great customer service," said Garcia, who now has 50 employees. "They have all the national chains down there, but we have higher-end pizza and I think people are willing to pay for that."
Like Garcia, Gordon and Kathy Harris, owners of Gordy's Steak & BBQ Smokehouse, took the recipe from the original Gordy's and planted it in an area with favorable demographics.
The new Gordy's at 13500 Interurban Ave. S. in Tukwila is a brand-new 9,000-square-foot restaurant and catering facility with a wooded interior featuring a custom-made neutral color scheme. Like the North Bend location, the Tukwila Gordy's is also on a golf course, Foster Golf Links.
His menu has changed slightly, but all the classic Gordy's flavor remains. Gordy's new place opened June 28.
"It was a nice growing area and we got a good deal on a brand-new building," said Harris, who now has close to 100 employees and is planning to expand further in the future. "We're always looking, always experimenting."
Harris said he loves the restaurant business, despite its risks.
"I'm absolutely totally insane. It's just what I do well, so I have fun with it."
Staff writer Melissa Kruse can be contacted at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.